birdwatcher (birdwatcher) wrote,


philg -- I spent some time recently with two Harvard undergraduates who are camped out in a Cambridge apartment. I’m the oldest person that they’ll have any contact with for the foreseeable future, yet these 20-year-olds behave as though they either worked or lived in a nursing home for 90-year-olds. Asked why they put so much effort into mask-wearing and deny themselves so many social opportunities that they would previous have jumped at, they say that they are personally afraid of getting coronavirus. They’re not obese or chronically ill, so their statistical risk of being felled by Covid-19 is low (see

from, but they seem to perceive Covid-19 as the main risk to their lives and health. They won’t take off their masks, for example, even when outside in mostly-deserted Cambridge. After talking to and observing them, I concluded that, at least for young Americans, Covid-19 is now primarily a disease of the mind.

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